Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

4.24. How do I use the Usenet addresses search?

The Usenet search is a unique variation in methods of looking for people on the Net. This tool checks your search request against a list of people who have recently posted to the Usenet. If you think your associate is a regular poster to the Usenet, you might want to try this. This search is beneficial because you do not need to know where your associate works or goes to school; a name can be enough.

You use the Usenet search by sending electronic mail to a server that processes your query and replies by e-mail. To look up a name, send a message to The server will ignore the subject line. In the body of your message, send send usenet-addresses/keys. keys can be one or more search words separated by spaces. It can be the first and last name, a login name, or the name of an organization. (If you send only the name of an organization, you will receive a list of all the posters from that place.)

You can guess about the words that may appear in the address of the person you are searching for; it's okay if some of the keys don't appear in the address. The search program uses "fuzzy" matching and tries to find addresses that are closest to your keywords. Forty or fewer matches will be returned, ranked from best to worst.

For more information, send a message to with a message body of send usenet-addresses/help. If you need to talk to a real person, send mail to The online help should be all you need, though.

The Usenet addresses database is also accessible via WAIS on two hosts: and In both cases, the database is called usenet-addresses and is on port 210. The version on rtfm is slightly more up-to-date with respect to the master address list than the version on cedar.

Here's an example of a Usenet addresses search. No Paul Simon, but lots of near misses:

Date: Sun, 23 Jan 1994 03:51:14 -0500
To: Kevin Savetz <>
Subject: mail-server: "send usenet-addresses/paul simon" (Simon Bisson) (Simon Bisson) (Dec
5 93)
paul@mtnmath.UUCP (Paul Budnik paul@MTNMATH.COM)        (Jan 20 94)
paul@mtnmath.UUCP (Paul Budnik uunet!mtnmath!paul)      (Jan 2 94) (Paul Hertz) (Paul Hertz)    (Jun 14 93)
uunet!mtnmath!paul@ncar.UCAR.EDU (Paul Budnik uunet!mtnmath!paul)   (Jun
3093) (Daniel Simon)     (Apr 1 93) (Paul Roberts)      (Apr 1
93) (Mike Simon)    (Apr 21 93) (Paul Britton)    (Apr 21 93) (Paul Beatrice)     (Apr 21 93) (Paul E. King)        (Apr 21 93) (Paul Haldane)     (Apr 1 93) (paul j guy) (Apr 21 93) (Paul Fishwick)    (Apr 1
Simon Aitken <> (Apr 11 93)

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